Old car, new (Bluetooth) tricks? Help me get my groove on.
July 31, 2016 5:14 PM   Subscribe

Can I pair multiple (ideally, 3-4) Bluetooth speakers in my car that will run off my iPhone? My car is old and it's not possible to get Bluetooth installed unless I replace the entire sounds system. Any ideas?

I want to play music off my iPhone in my car. Problem is, I have a 2006 Expedition that does not have Bluetooth or auxiliary cable connections. I've asked at sound system shops and they all say that to do this, I would have to get an entirely new stereo system, including DVD, to do this; I don't want to drop over $1K just to fix this, but I may eventually have to.

Right now I have one Bluetooth speaker (a jam trance mini) which is good but if you're sitting in the back, it's just not loud enough. I was thinking of buying small speakers like this to clip to each chair so each person would have a speaker; these would need recharging since there are no outlets in the back of the car, but I can deal with that. However now I'm reading that sometimes Bluetooth won't allow you to pair multiple speakers! Should I purchase another jambox and try it out? Or is there another workaround?? I'd like to spend no more than $150 if possible.
posted by sealee to Technology (21 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
You should be able to do this by just replacing the head unit of your car stereo. I recently upgraded the stereo in my 2009 Matrix--replaced the factory stock stereo with a more modern unit with Bluetooth (ok, and gaudy LED lights, but I love it, ok?) Works just fine and I didn't need to replace the speakers.

Between the stereo itself, the trim kit, the wire harness, and installation at Best Buy, all told it was about $200.
posted by Sublimity at 5:22 PM on July 31, 2016 [2 favorites]




Best answer: I know at least 3 people who installed aftermarket AUX jacks in their old cars, and while all of them are web/computer type nerds they are not electrical-fiddling types. There are youtube videos on how to do it.

Don't ask sound system shops; they want to sell you a sound system.

Best Buy has whole new stereos for next to nothing and their installation is generally reliable.
posted by Lyn Never at 5:27 PM on July 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


Could you get one of those things that takes the audio out from your iphone and transmits on one of the lower, less-used frequencies so you can listen through your radio?
posted by drezdn at 5:32 PM on July 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


Best answer: they all say that to do this, I would have to get an entirely new stereo system, including DVD, to do this; I don't want to drop over $1K just to fix this

They are all lying dicks and are trying to sell you something. Yes, the Expedition stereo is a nonstandard size (kind of) because it is bigger than the (most standard) DinE. But you can get an adaptor to fit that hole in your dash and fit a standard Din E stereo with bluetooth for (as mentioned) around $100. There will be a standard wiring loom adaptor (available separately) and this is all you will need.

The 'four bluetooth speakers idea is crazy and a massive hassle. This job just needs a little bit of research, maybe an hour or so's fitting at most and you're all good with off the shelf components.
posted by Brockles at 5:44 PM on July 31, 2016 [7 favorites]


I have one of these, it's awesome. Powered by your cigarette lighter, input via bluetooth or 3.5mm audio cable, transmits via FM to car stereo.
posted by STFUDonnie at 5:46 PM on July 31, 2016 [3 favorites]


Best answer: Ya. Brockles 100% Crutchfield.com is what you want. They include wiring adapters and the tool to pop the radio out. They also tell you exactly what kind of install (eg modified fit, or comes with adapter etc) .

They also have wild helpful people. Call them. Their entire business model is exactly precisely. You and your case.
posted by chasles at 5:58 PM on July 31, 2016 [5 favorites]


I've added Bluetooth/USB to two 2006 vehicles (a Jeep Liberty and a VW Jetta) with Grom Audio's expansion units.

I linked to the Ford model. They have a harness that connects to the external CD changer plug that is usually on stereos of this vintage.

(Note that you should e-mail them first before buying this - their compatibility matrix doesn't list Expedition, so I chose Explorer.)
posted by tomierna at 6:37 PM on July 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


Best answer: Folks, the head unit in a 2006 Expedition is one of those monoblock everything-in-one-big-chassis systems. It's not some cheap single or double-DIN piece that's easily replaceable. That's one big honkin' cavity to fill. I get the feeling the OP isn't looking to mod their dash.

Thus, the question about using their phone.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:04 PM on July 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


> I have one of these, it's awesome. Powered by your cigarette lighter, input via bluetooth or 3.5mm audio cable, transmits via FM to car stereo.

I also have one of those (bc 2001 Pruis with no aux and no way of installing) and I live in a radio-dense area and have traveled in radio-crap areas it works like a charm in all of them. Love it, A++++ will order again if this one breaks (which it shows no signs of doing).
posted by rtha at 7:09 PM on July 31, 2016


I got an $80 JVC stereo for my 05. Has an aux input, a USB port, and Bluetooth.
posted by wwartorff at 7:20 PM on July 31, 2016


Best answer: Folks, the head unit in a 2006 Expedition is one of those monoblock everything-in-one-big-chassis systems. It's not some cheap single or double-DIN piece that's easily replaceable.

It is easily and cheaply replaceable, hence the posts. You can't link to the exact page because of how their site is, but Crutchfield shows precisely the 'replacement surround/spacer and standard stereo' concept I am talking about. There is absolutely no 'dash modification' required, this is an easy remove and refit job, same as everything else. You just need (as well as the loom) one of these: http://www.crutchfield.com/p_003FMK550/American-International-FMK-550-Dash-Kit.html?tp=3121
posted by Brockles at 7:39 PM on July 31, 2016 [5 favorites]


Piping in to add to the 'use Crutchfield.com for this' chorus. They will even send you instructions to install everything, with pictures.
posted by destructive cactus at 8:00 PM on July 31, 2016 [4 favorites]


...and they send you all the shit you need without you having to think about it. The only things you might need are screwdrivers and a socket set and maybe a pry bar.

I replaced the head unit in my 91 Probe (WOOO IT SMELLED LIKE A SWAMP BECAUSE THE TAILLIGHTS LEAKED) and it used a similar system to what Brockles linked to. Dead fuckin' easy, and I am Captain Really Not Handy instead of being a race car engineer like Brockles.

I mean, seriously, I might as well be a marmoset as far as this sort of thing goes, and it was easy.

Also there is a whole page full of OG SHOW YOU HOW DO IT videos on the youtubeses.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:21 PM on July 31, 2016 [3 favorites]


Best answer: To answer the specific question about Bluetooth speakers: the answer's a very definite no. Bluetooth was designed for all sorts of things, but the primary design goal in common was to enable point to point exchange of information between two devices, and part of its design spec is to make it secure against another device (e.g. a second speaker) being able to get involved in that exchange of information.

I'm not aware of any products that deliberately break Bluetooth by allowing multiple speakers to pretend to be one speaker, and I'm pretty sure that it's very difficult to get one phone to send the same music over multiple Bluetooth connections at once.
posted by ambrosen at 9:16 PM on July 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


That said, it looks like there's a kit to add Bluetooth to your factory stereo: Crux BEEBF-24 Bluetooth® Interface. I got there from this page Bluetooth kits for factory radios and I had to make a couple of assumptions about what you had fitted to your car currently (e.g. factory satnav or not), so click that second link. Also, it's $170, so a tiny bit more than you wanted. But by far the best solution.
posted by ambrosen at 9:30 PM on July 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


Apologies, tomierna already suggested the adaptor plugged into the back (where a satellite radio or cd changer might get plugged in). Still, reiterating that this is far and away the best solution.
posted by ambrosen at 9:42 PM on July 31, 2016


We used a Blitzsafe adapter in my boyfriend's Excursion (2000-ish). I'd had great luck with a Blitzsafe adapter in my early-90s Acura (worked perfectly for 10 years, but was discarded when the stock head unit died and I replaced it with aftermarket) but the Excursion adapter ceased to function within 6 months. Whatever adapter you choose, you may need the tools/keys to extract the stock stereo, and will probably need to disconnect the stock CD changer if present.
posted by ortoLANparty at 10:43 PM on July 31, 2016


Best answer: So, to answer the actual question, the only thing I've seen remotely approaching this (linking multiple bluetooth speakers to a single device) is the UE Boom speaker app that lets you pair two UE Boom speakers to the same device. UE Booms are pretty loud so two might do it for you.

But if I were in your shoes I'd either buy that FM transmitter or a new head unit instead.
posted by Aleyn at 6:40 PM on August 1, 2016


I have the exact same adapter that STFUDonnie recommended...it's the best. Immediately bought a second one for my wife's car.
posted by richmondparker at 12:50 PM on August 2, 2016


Response by poster: Thanks all for the specific links to models/kits that work with this odd-size unit, you were all extremely helpful; and also thanks for reminding me that car salesmen and their cohorts shouldn't be at the top of my trust list.
posted by sealee at 6:03 PM on September 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


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